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IT: Put on a Happy Face

The image of IT that comes from Jimmy Fallon's Nick Burns "Your Company's Computer Guy" character  on SNL. Many think that IT pros are rude, condescending and inattentive.

Don Jones thinks if you are this way, you best change. Jones believes you are all going to have be a lot kinder this year.

His theory is that end users are more and more taking IT into their own hands -- just like they did in the '80s when they brought in PCs without IT permission.

Now they are bringing in smart phones and tablets, and accessing Web services such as DropBox.

"Our users are running all over the place, picking up IT services from wherever they want, because we aren't providing them with those services. It's not usually IT's fault per se; in some cases, we simply don't have the money or manpower to deploy things such as Internet-connected, secured, authenticated storage solutions. So our users sign up for a Dropbox account instead, which we promptly block at the firewall," Jones argues.

IT is put in the awkward position of telling end users "no, we can do this or that."  End users then do it themselves anyway. Say, users want a Web server. "No, you can't have a new Web server because you're going to be putting up content that we need to control and secure. We've got to put a system around that, and we don't have any budget or manpower to get it done. Get the executives to free up some resources and we can make it happen," Jones relates.

So the users set up unauthorized Amazon AWS accounts. A better approach is for IT to stand in the end user's corner, and say "You know, we don't have the resources to set that Web site up internally, but let's look at what you plan to do with it. If you've got budget, and if you're not going to be hosting any customer data, then I can help you spin up an AWS-based Web site."

This way you are still in control for security and compliance, the end user's needs are met, and you come out smelly rosier than Ms. O'Donnell.

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/11/2013 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 Deric South Africa

Your article made me think this morning when I read it, but I have to agree with what Dan said. Our users pretty much have always tried to do what they like on their PC's or network. Now with BYOD they feel as if they have the right to do so, something I don't entirely agree with. The truth is BYOD is more expensive for the client. I have one client who now has 6 different OS', 5 different Antiviruses (or none) and different versions of Office on their network, not to mention a lot of pirated software and inferior hardware because of BYOD. The result will be higher IT costs, and users thinking we bigger asses than usual.

Fri, Jan 11, 2013 Dan Iowa

I like the idea that you think you'll have the chance to say yes or no... or let me help you. Some of us have lived in a world where users have always done what they want. What you're describing is the server under the desk version of cloud computing. The aspect that users may attempt to do things on their own is not really new. Now it's just getting easier to do. The likelihood that users will now start asking first seems a bit remote..

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